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Index August 2006

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The Report From Iron Mountain

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The Report From Iron Mountain was a hoax written by Leonard C. Lewin in 1967 and published by the Dial Press. The idea for the Report came from Victor Navasky. In 1966, Navasky, then editor of the satiric Monocle magazine, read an article in the New York Times on a stock market downturn due to a “peace scare”. This gave him an idea for a report that would get people thinking about a peacetime economy (the hoax came out during the Vietnam War) and the stupidity of the arms race. With these aims in mind, Lewin wrote the hoax.

Publishing history: see on wikipedia.

Contents of the hoax: The hoax claimed that a 15-member panel, called the Special Study Group, was set up in 1963 to examine what problems would occur if the U.S. entered a state of lasting peace. They met at an underground nuclear bunker called Iron Mountain and worked over the next two years. A member of the panel, one “John Doe”, a professor at a college in the Midwest, decided to release the report to the public. The heavily footnoted report concluded that peace was not in the interest of a stable society, that even if lasting peace “could be achieved, it would almost certainly not be in the best interests of society to achieve it.” War was a part of the economy. Therefore, it was necessary to conceive a state of war for a stable economy. The government, the group theorized, would not exist without war, and nation states existed in order to wage war. War also served a vital function of diverting collective aggression. They recommended that bodies be created to emulate the economic functions of war.

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CEASEFIRE NOW, a petition

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A website for a petition for Ceasefire Now in the middle east, mainly Palestinia and Israel. You can sign in these languages:

English,
Deutsch,
Espagnol,
Français,
Arab,
Hebrew,
Portugues,
Chinese,
Bahasa Indonesia.

Propagande et terrorisme

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Le mensonge des attentats à l’explosif liquide, par James Petras*

Excerpt: … Les accusations formulées par les régimes britannique, états-unien et pakistanais, qui auraient découvert les préparatifs d’un vaste attentat ourdi contre neuf compagnies aériennes des États-Unis, se fondent sur des preuves extrêmement contestables, qui seraient rejetées par tout tribunal digne de ce nom. Le passage au crible analytique de l’enquête, à son stade actuel, soulève un certain nombre de questions au sujet des allégations formulées par ces gouvernements, concernant la préparation d’un attentat ourdi conjointement par vingt-quatre citoyens britanniques d’origine pakistanaise … (Lire ce long article sur Reseau Voltaire du 29 aout 2006).

* James Petras est professeur émérite de sociologie à l’université Binghamton de New York. Intellectuel emblématique de la gauche américaine, il est l’auteur de nombreux ouvrages. James Petras est membre de la conférence anti-impérialiste ‘Axis for Peace’ organisée par le Réseau Voltaire.

Prison for Chen Guangcheng – China

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Linked with Chen Guangcheng – China.

Chen Guangcheng’s Brother Discusses Forced Abortion Activist’s Sentence, by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com Editor, August 25, 2006.

Linyi, China (LifeNews.com) – Chen Guangcheng was sentenced yesterday to four years and three months in prison after a local court convicted the activist of destroying property in a protest. Chen’s brother Chen Guangfu discussed the illegal trial and the trumped up charges the local government used to convict a man who exposed its brutal forced abortion campaign. Officials in Linyi, an eastern Chinese city of 10 million people, had their eyes on Chen for years.

A blind attorney, Chen had spoken up for the rights of property owners, farmers and laborers who got the shaft from the government. But his exposing the city’s brutal enforcement of the nation’s coercive one-child family planning policy was the last straw. When Chen told the world how local authorities forced more than 10,000 women to have abortions or be sterilized against their well, Linyi officials sentenced Chen to house arrest. Upset with their retaliation against Chen, Linyi residents protested in the streets and some property was damaged during the demonstrations. Wanting to make an example out of Chen and to prosecute him for his legal actions for the people, the government charged Chen with the destruction of the property. Chen’s brother told Asia News the charges were illegal.

“My brother was not involved at all,” he said. “He is blind and was not allowed to come out of the house — how could he incite people to damage a car?” He also told Asia News the charges were too severe for very minor property damage. “Even if he had damaged the property, the damage amounted to 5,440 yuan (682 dollars). Is this sum worth such a heavy penalty of four years in prison?” he asked.

Chen’s brother talked about the events of the trial, which turned China into an international laughingstock because local authorities jailed Chen’s attorneys shortly before it began and prevented them from attending any part of it. “The authorities appointed two lawyers to represent him, but all they said in the court was, ‘We have no objection’,” Chen’s brother indicated.

Chen refused to speak during the trial to protest the detention of his attorneys. But the judge interpreted his silence as acquiescence to the charges. Yuan Weijing, Chen’s wife, said his family would appeal the sentence, but Chen will not likely win his case on appeal if local officials prevent his attorneys from representing him.

Draft Minutes of the IWC Meeting New Delhi

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Linked with Darshan Pal – India, and with World Social Forum, Delhi – 9-13 November 2006.

But read first: Dirty Secrets of the Temple (a critical look of how the Fed works), June 29, 2006, by Stephen Lendman, on his blog.
Or this short excerpts of the 9 page text.

Draft Minutes of the IWC Meeting New Delhi 11TH 12TH February 2006:

Reporting From Bamako and Caracas.
Roma Malik reported about the Caracas Event.
Pradeep Sharma reported for Bamako Event.
A printed report on Bamako from Madhushree was also distributed (attached).
Reconstitution of IWC: Prabir reported about the organisations that have confirmed about their willingness to continue as part of IWC and ready to devote time for WSF process. A report of which organisations have already informed of their consent and who are yet pending was circulated in the meeting. It was decided to send reminders to those who have not send in their confirmation as yet.
It was felt that, to further strengthen WSF India process some sectors that are not with the process should be approached and involved for including such sections. It was also proposed that regional and state level social forums should be involved in the IWC and an appropriate mechanism should be evolved for this.
Four organisations, namely All India OBC Forum, National Alliance of Agriculture Workers Union. NAAWU, DISHA, SANGAMA were proposed to be added to the IWC and this was accepted.
Finances: Gautam made a presentation on principles & norms of Finance.

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You and Aids

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Linked with Nafis Sadik – Pakistan.

By Nafis Sadik – THE HIV/AIDS response in Asia Pacific has gained real momentum over the last year and a half. We have seen a change in the attitude of leaders in the region. It seems to me that there is an increasing acceptance that there is a problem, which needs to be addressed, and it is no longer enough just to look at HIV in terms of vulnerable groups.

However, this is not enough and we still need leaders to speak out more, and more loudly, about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is a difficult issue to talk about, but leadership at all levels needs to overcome their reluctance if a serious impact on this epidemic is to be made.

As the UN Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS, my role is to convince leaders to speak out. I want to support leaders across the region to identify the issues that need attention and to address these. For instance, the issue of vulnerability of women and girls – an issue, for which I have a special passion – in this region, where arranged marriage is very common. We face unique challenges in addressing the vulnerability of women to HIV. We need to ask, how do we address women’s needs? How do we protect them?

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“Fear! Fear!”: Birth of the War on Terror

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The Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism, by Brian Bogart, August 23, 2006.

As soon as it came out that the apparent “new 9-11″ airliner threat between the US and UK had been thwarted with the help of Pakistani Intelligence Services (ISI), it also became clear that it was a political tool for further legitimizing the lucrative “war on terror.” After all, the ISI with Saudi financing and covert CIA training had created al-Qaeda in the first place,[1] to counter another “threat”: Soviet communist “enslavement.”

In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed a handful of Wall Street lawyers and investors to posts in his administration, including James Conant, James Forrestal, and Paul Nitze. Upon Roosevelt’s death (and the coinciding fall of the Third Reich), this influential group began an attempt to fill the trade vacuum left in postwar Europe. While Europeans, Soviets, and many US officials would have preferred a neutralist trade environment, these few State Department officials in the final years of the 1940s sought US trade supremacy,[2] and thus set about creating a Soviet “communist threat” that ran counter to the CIA’s own National Intelligence Estimates.[3]

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Welfare income levels hit new lows – study

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By SCOTT DEVEAU, Globe and Mail Update, August 24, 2006 – The amount of money Canadians on welfare received in 2005 is at its lowest point in 19 years, according to a new study. The National Council of Welfare, a citizen’s advisory group to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, released its Welfare Incomes 2005 report Thursday on the state of Canada’s welfare system. It suggests that of the 1.7-million Canadians, half a million of whom are children, currently receiving welfare in the country, most are living far below the poverty line. According to the report, the income adjusted for inflation of a single person living on welfare in Alberta has dropped by 50 per cent since 1986 to $4,824 a year. In New Brunswick the average is $3,427 for a single person or 19 per cent of the poverty of what is considered the threshold for the poverty line. NCW chairman John Murphy calls the present situation “shameful and morally unsustainable.”

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A Random Chapter in the History of Nonviolence

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Linked with (1917 – 1984) Barbara Deming – USA, and with Nonviolence Book – Notes to CHAPTER 12, BARBARA DEMING.

By Michael L. Westmoreland-White, Sunday, 8 September 2002. (See on this page of ‘Every Church a Peace Church‘).

The first four of these columns will relate the stories of women, since women’s history is less well known, including their leadership in peacemaking and nonviolent movements.

To some reading these pages, Deming’s life is well known, but I suspect that many will not have heard of her until this column. Her story deserves remembering by those who would be people of justice and peace. A writer, feminist, peace and civil rights activist, Deming was born in New York City on 23 July 1917 and died in Sugarloaf Key, Florida, on 2 August 1984. Born into a Quaker family and educated in Quaker schools, Deming was nevertheless reticent about her own faith and, although she never rejected or distanced herself from the Friends/Quakers, neither was she regularly present in Meeting life. She studied literature and theater at Bennington College in Vermont.

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Nonviolence Book – Notes to CHAPTER 12, BARBARA DEMING

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Linked with (1917 – 1984) Barbara Deming – USA, and with A Random Chapter in the History of Nonviolence.

University of Colorado: Barbara Deming (1917 – 1984) is probably the least well known of all the great theorists of nonviolence in U.S. history. She certainly deserves to be better known, because she holds a very important place in the history of the idea of nonviolence. She is the most influential thinker who developed a systematic argument for nonviolence with no religious basis. More than anyone else, Deming made it intellectually plausible, and even respectable, for non-religious people to commit themselves to nonviolence. She developed her ideas while participating in the peace and civil rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s. For the first time, large numbers of people with no Christian commitment embraced, or at least seriously explored, nonviolence. So she helped make a place in the nonviolence movement for many people who might otherwise have been unsure whether they could embrace nonviolence.

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Fluctuating Fortunes for Hugo Chavez

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By JELA DE FRANCESCHI, VOA news, August 22, 2006 – Venezuela’s fiery President Hugo Chavez is the subject of both adulation and scorn. Some say he is headed toward despotism; others claim he is a man of the people. And still others say he is both.

When Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias was first elected president in 1998, oil-rich Venezuela was ripe for change. For four decades, two parties – - the Democratic Action Party and the Christian Democratic Party — dominated the political scene. During that time, many observers note, no Latin American country deteriorated more than Venezuela. Its gross domestic product fell nearly 40 percent; three-quarters of the population lived below the poverty line.

According to Riordan Roett, Director of the Western Hemisphere Program at The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, the country’s old political elites were guilty of rampant corruption and mismanagement.

“The Christian Democrats and the Democratic Action Party captured the Venezuelan state in the 1970s and 1980s, and robbed it blind. And they bear heavy responsibility for not taking the appropriate social development policies in the last quarter of the last century. [Hugo] Chavez would not exist if the oil wells in Venezuela had been invested in the Venezuelan people, rather than in the pockets of its politicians,” says Professor Roett.

He adds that Venezuela’s oil wealth — the largest oil reserves in the Western Hemisphere — only deepened the discontent of the poor. When Mr. Chavez entered politics, his confrontational style and populist rhetoric served him well. He came to office in a landslide victory in 1998 and was re-elected two years later on his promise to help the poor and reorder the political system.

Consolidating Power:

(Read the rest of this long article on contacto).

Social worker shortage puts children at risk

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By Sipokazi Maposa, August 21 2006 – critical shortage of social workers in the country is crippling the process of placing vulnerable children into foster care and children’s homes. There are only about 10 000 registered social workers in the country. Fewer than 1 000 of these are serving in the Western Cape. At least 900 children in the province are still waiting to be placed into foster care or children’s homes. About 2 000 lapsed foster care applications are waiting to be renewed in the province. The chief executive of Cape Town Child Welfare, Niresh Ramklass, said the shortage was worrying, and the country could run out of social workers in the next few years if something was not done to increase their number. Ramklass said more children were in need of services as they were migrating from poorer provinces to Cape Town.

“In about five to six years we are going to run out of social workers if something is not done. “For every 430 South Africans there’s only one social worker. This is completely inadequate. Children are living in poverty … they are abused, neglected and murdered on a daily basis in this country, and yet we have very few social workers.” Ramklass said the situation was exacerbated by the low salaries in the sector, which forced social workers to move to better-paying jobs or to work overseas. The provincial authorities in the Western Cape, however, do not believe the situation is critical, nor as bad as other provinces – like KwaZulu Natal, which faces huge backlogs.

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childprotect – defense des enfants

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(Reçu cette information par un yahoomail).

La semaine passée, une petite fille de 3 ans d’Athlone (Afrique du Sud) a été battue et violée. Elle est encore vivante. Le coupable a été relâché sous caution … Peut-être avez-vous déjà entendu dire qu’il existe un mythe en Afrique du Sud prétendant que le fait d’avoir une relation sexuelle avec une vierge permet de guérir du Sida. Plus la fille est jeune, plus l’effet devrait être bénéfique. Ceci est la cause actuelle d’une véritable épidémie de viols perpétrés par des hommes séropositifs qui infectent des enfants innocents. Plusieurs sont déjà morts de cette violence sexuelle et de la contagion. Tout dernièrement, on a rapporté le cas suivant: à Cape Town, six hommes se sont attaqués à un bébé de 9 mois. Cette tragédie prend des proportions gigantesques. Le gouvernement sud-africain pense actuellement abolir le service de protection de l’enfance. Une petition auprès du Gouvernement Sud-Africain est lancée, envoyez vos signatures à childprotect. Voir aussi cette page de survivreausida.net, avec le titre: ‘Les femmes, premières victimes du sida en Afrique’ (AFP).

Frontal Attack on the UN

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Linked with , and with Torild Skard – Norway.

By Torild Skard, in Dagbladet of April 28, 2006 – The UN is to be reformed. An international panel is requested to elaborate reform proposals and the Norwegian Prime Minister is one of the co-chairs. The focus is on development, humanitarian assistance and environment. The aim is a more rational and effective UN. Tighter management and closer coordination shall provide better results, it is said.

There is no doubt that the UN needs reform and the headings are tempting. But proposals that are now being pushed may very well in practice lead to a weakening in stead of a strengthening of the UN.

The first problem is the time pressure. The panel has been given an extremely short period of time to deal with a tremendously ambitious agenda. The reform proposals are to be presented already by August. The reason is probably that Kofi Annan wants the proposals to be adopted before he leaves his post as Secretary-General by the end of the year. But we are faced with very complex questions. It is not easy to find good answers and the panel is supposed to deal with both the country level and headquarters, normative and operational functions, organisation and financing. Haste may very easily make waste. And the process can be fundamentally biased. European countries have rapidly presented comprehensive and radical reform proposals, while developing countries are struggling to take an active part in the debates.

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Ensuring Peace through Justice

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Linked with Elizabeth Odio Benito – Costa Rica, and with The International Criminal Court ICC;

By Elizabeth Odio Benito, August 2002, on WHRnet – In the 1990s, the government of Costa Rica nominated the distinguished jurist and former vice president of the Republic of Costa Rica, Elizabeth Odio Benito, to the Ad Hoc Tribunal for former Yugoslavia. She was elected by the UN General Assembly in 1993 as one of 11 international judges who had the task of ensuring peace through justice.

As a judge, she established jurisprudence on various aspects of international humanitarian law but most notably with regard to the recognition of sexual violence against women as a war crime. Before being appointed to the Court, she served as Dean Emeritus of the Law School of the University of Costa Rica and worked untiringly for human rights in Latin America and worldwide.

An international group of women is promoting her nomination to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this connection, she commented to us:

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Alarmed at rising violence in Sri Lanka

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Linked with AGHS Legal Aid Cell, and with Hina Jilani – Pakistan.

Annan calls for halt to fighting.

14 August 2006 – Adding his voice to a growing chorus of United Nations officials speaking out against the rising bloodshed in Sri Lanka, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today deplored recent attacks, including the weekend assassination of a Government peace official, and called on both sides to stop fighting and resume talks.

“The Secretary-General stresses that a return to civil war will not resolve the issues involved,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement released in New York, voicing alarm at the ongoing violence and joining the Sri Lanka Co-Chairs – the European Union, United States, Norway and Japan – in calling on the parties “to cease hostilities immediately and to return to the negotiating table.”

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Understanding Sudan – The Darfur conflict

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Concerning the Darfur Conflict, linked with Workers World, and with PBS.org.

Photos by Michal Ronnen Safdie of refugees – see link on this site.

Samantha Power returns to NOW to discuss the ongoing crisis. (See her also on this site of world-citizenship.org).

The UN report urged the Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on Sudan and recommended that the Council send the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The United States, while standing by its assessment of a genocidal situation, does not recognize the ICC and has called for a separate court to be established to try criminals from the Darfur conflict. See The international Court System.

Have also produced recent articles about Darfur: Human Rights Watch HRW; BBC July 3; BBC Q & A; Genocide Intervention; Overseas Development Institute ODI and their briefing note; the Sudan Information Gateway; Center for the Advancement of Democratic Awareness in Sudan; International Crisis Group.

Tiere sind weder Menschen noch Waren

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Linked with Departement of Biblical Studies, Univ. Fribourg (CH), and with Othmar Keel – Switzerland.

“Wenn ich so Reklame anschaue, dann beeindruckt es mich immer wieder, wie viel Energie investiert wird, »unseren vierbeinigen Freunden«, wie es so heißt, »ein ganzes Leben in Schönheit, Widerstandsfähigkeit und Vitalität zu garantieren«. Da wird z. B. »abwechslungsreiches Futter so recht nach Katzengeschmack« angeboten »mit 16 Vitaminen und 8 Spurenelementen«. Es gibt Tiere, die werden wie liebste Menschen verwöhnt. Alle unsere Gefühle und manchmal auch unsere Neurosen projizieren wir auf sie. Andere Tiere behandeln wir brutal, als ob sie empfindungslose Wesen wären. Auch nach den bundesrätlichen Verordnungen vom 27. Mai 1981 zum neuen Tierschutzgesetz dürfen wir Mutterschweine immer noch in engsten Käfigen halten und kurz anbinden, so dass sie sich kaum bewegen können und noch viel weniger im Dreck wühlen, wie sie es sonst so gerne machen würden. Kälber dürfen wir weiterhin in Einzelboxen sperren, damit sie möglichst schnell möglichste weißes und schwammiges Fleisch ansetzen.Dabei weiß doch jeder, wie gerne Kälber ein paar Sprünge machen, wie sie das freut, und uns freut es auch, wenn wir sie sehen. Ich habe jetzt immer und absichtlich gesagt: Wir. Denn wenn einzelne Leute irgendein Tier bis zur Lächerlichkeit vermenschlichen, dann ist das nicht nur ihre Sache, sondern die unserer Gesellschaft, die die zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen rationiert hat.

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Liban et ONU

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Récente déclaration de Kofi Annan au conseil de sécurité à propos du Liban.

Récents débats et résolutions du conseil de sécurité à propos du Liban:

Résolution 1701 du Conseil de sécurité (Texte et débats);

Débat au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU sur la situation au Liban.

Science of Chaos or Chaos in Science?

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Linked with Jean Bricmont – Belgium.

By Jean Bricmont, Physicalia Magazine, year 17/ 3-4 (1995), pp.159-208.

Abstract: I try to clarify several confusions in the popular literature concerning chaos, determinism, the arrow of time, entropy and the role of probability in physics. Classical ideas going back to Laplace and Boltzmann are explained and defended while some recent views on irreversibility, due to Prigogine, are criticized.

1. Introduction

2. Chaos and determinism: Defending Laplace

3. Irreversibility and the arrow of time

4. Some misconceptions about irreversibility

5. Entropies

6. Order out of Chaos ?

7.Conclusion : What makes poets happy ?

Notes, References. (Read the whole on dogma.free.fr).

UN Security Council Resolution/1701

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UN Security Council Resolution/1701

Adopted by the Security Council at its 5511th meeting, on 11 August 2006

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 520 (1982), 1559 (2004), 1655 (2006) 1680 (2006) and 1697 (2006), as well as the statements of its President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statements of 18 June 2000 (S/PRST/2000/21), of 19 October 2004 (S/PRST/2004/36), of 4 May 2005 (S/PRST/2005/17), of 23 January 2006 (S/PRST/2006/3) and of 30 July 2006 (S/PRST/2006/35),

Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah’s attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons,

Emphasizing the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasizing the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers,

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Droits de l’Homme ou droit du plus fort?

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Linked with Jean Bricmont – Belgium.

Interview avec Jean Bricmont, auteur d’Impérialisme humanitaire, par Joaquim Da Fonseca, 04-01-2006.

Dans son nouvel ouvrage, Impérialisme humanitaire, Jean Bricmont dénonce l’utilisation des droits de l’hommepour justifier les agressions contre les pays du Sud. En publiant avec Alan Sokal Impostures intellectuelles, Jean Bricmont avait déjà provoqué une vive réaction dans certains milieux philosophiques internationaux. Rencontre avec un pacifiste et un intelllectuel engagé.

Ci-après some excerpts:

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Interview avec Duong Thu Huong – Viet Nam

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Linked with Duong Thu Huong – Viet Nam.

publié dans Dac Trung, (y lire aussi la revue du livre).

A quel moment avez-vous eu l’idée de «Terre des oublis» ?

Cette histoire était là depuis longtemps, elle vient de la province de Quang Binh [afin de nous faciliter la tâche, Duong Thu Huong note sur un papier : «Quang Binh est une province du centre du pays, dans la guerre c'était la ligne du feu»], comme Roman sans titre et Myosotis. J’ai écrit Roman sans titre comme une dette envers mes amis défunts, chacun de ces livres sort des souvenirs qui me hantent, les histoires s’entassent dans ma tête et une par une je dois m’en libérer.
Pendant la guerre, je travaillais au comité de la culture provinciale de Quang Binh. Après la libération du Sud, je suis restée dans la même région. Ce territoire me frappe violemment, parce que là-bas toute ma jeunesse se passe, j’ai rencontré des gens si différents, des soldats, des civils, des victimes, des blessés, et même des déserteurs, il y avait beaucoup de camps pour les rééduquer, là-bas, dans la province de Quang Binh.

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RFA Interviewed Writer Duong Thu Huong

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Linked with Duong Thu Huong – Viet Nam.

Following is the interview of writer dissident Duong Thu Huong, by the Radio Free Asia, on July 04, 2000.

Radio Free Asia: Why do you think so many writers growing up under Socialism now display such contempt, even outright insult toward all values when describing the daily life around them?

Duong Thu Huong: Despite some variety of individual expressions, common living environment does produce a certain common mentality. How much and from what angle that common mentality manifests itself depends on each individual’s character and talents. In my opinion, those bitter voices are the minimum display of discontent ones can do and remain alive. Most writers pen their thought that way nowadays – with either sad bitterness or extreme rawness. They strip life naked and leave it exposed without comments. Their personal commentary must stay concealed. They do it that way so (1) they still have enough safety to live on and (2) they can free themselves from certain unsolved misery.

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